BY SANDY CHEBAT
Talk to professional dog roomers about the trends they’re seeing in shears and
clipping, and three things repeatedly come up: Asian fusion, ergonomics and chunkers.
“We’re seeing a rising trend
in Asian fusion, [which is] making a dog look more like a puppy
or a cartoon character [and is] focused on overall cuteness and a
stuffed animal look,” said Rachel
Nowell, owner of The Classic
Canine Pet Spa in Allen, Texas.
She added that the trend came
about when people in Asian countries posted pictures of the style
online and it went viral.
Karen Formico, vice president
of marketing for Andis Co. in
Sturtevant, Wis., agreed, adding
that “groomers typically try to
make the dogs look balanced and
proportioned, but Asian freestyle
is actually the opposite, leaving
the hair long on the legs while
tight and trim on the torso.”
Cameron Adkins, lead
grooming instructor for Healthy
Spot’s education department in
Inglewood, Calif., also reported
a departure from the convention-
al and from the traditional breed
“Even though there’s still
respect and revere for those tra-
ditions and standards, outside
the show arena, there are few-
er purebreds and more people
rescuing, so you must be able to
improvise on the spot for sizes,
shapes and coat combinations,”
he said. “The clipping trend is
specific to each dog, with an em-
phasis on cuteness. I teach my
students to make it look like the
dog’s hair just grows like that, so
leave no evidence of a blade hav-
ing cut the hair.”
Ergonomics continues to im-
prove in shears as the grooming
industry looks for ways to make
the job easier and better for pro-
fessionals at a price they appreci-
ate. Trina Bicknell, vice president
of sales for PetEdge in Beverly,
Mass., said these pros “want a
shear that cuts well, stays sharp,
reduces hand fatigue and helps
keep their speed up.
“Shear manufacturers have
responded to groomers’ needs to
have that good, ergonomic shear
but at a reasonable cost,” she
added. “Mass manufacturing
processes have brought a nice
sharp shear into a price category
that most groomers can afford.”
In particular, chunkers are increasing in popularity.
“I’m seeing a grooming trend
in chunkers, which are used to
bulk off large amounts of hair
and blend at the same time,”
Nowell said. “They’re great to
give a natural, less scissored,
more feathery appearance.”
Adkins said chunkers are
nothing new, as she saw her first
pair around 2008, but they have
become essentials lately.
“I didn’t get a pair until recently, and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get them when I
first saw them,” she said.
Clipping and styling trends shape the direction of new
tool releases in professional grooming shears.
SPOTLIGHT ON EDUCATION
Grooming experts rate education as essential when it comes to professional shears,
“and professional groomers are starving for it,” said Joey Villani, a Conair grooming
ambassador in Clifton, N. J., who speaks at two to three seminars a month and all around
“Every class usually is sold out because [groomers] want to know the newest techniques and information,” he said. “If you’re not updating yourself, you’re falling behind.”
Safety remains an important aspect of education.
“If groomers don’t buy a shear that suits their specific needs, and one that feels
comfortable in their hand, it will cost them time and risk injury,” said Trina Bicknell, vice
president of sales for PetEdge in Beverly, Mass.
And groomers aren’t the only ones at risk.
“You need to know how to maintain your shears and how often to maintain them,
and the main thing is safety—to know how sharp they are and how to keep them
sharp,” said Rachel Nowell, owner of The Classic Canine Pet Spa in Allen, Texas. “Dull-
ness requires more force when cutting hair, which can harm the pet.”
Fit is a crucial part of choosing the right shears, and it makes selection an incredibly
“In a class of 100 groomers, they’re all a little different, and everyone has different
needs,” said Chris Pawlosky, professional groomer, national training manager of Oster
Professional Products brands at Jarden Consumer Solutions, and owner of The Pet
Connection in Warren, Ohio.
Each person’s hand shape, experience level, pre-existing or grooming-related conditions and hand size all affect what fits and feels best to a groomer, insiders said.
“Early on I was taught to buy scissors when you can hold them,” Pawlosky said.
“Nothing beats trying them in person.”
Cameron Adkins, lead grooming instructor for Healthy Spot’s education department
in Inglewood, Calif., agreed, adding that “the best way to learn about shears is to go to
the shows, hold them and go to the actual shop.”
In addition to spending time at trade shows, industry participants emphasized
employing the sharpener’s expertise. B.C. Henschen, co-owner of Platinum Paws in
Carmel, Ind., said groomers “should spend time with a good-quality sharpener and learn
the different edges and materials so [they] can be educated in the buying process and
“Don’t waste your time until you know from your sharpener what you should be
looking at,” he added.
Other educational resources recommended by the pros include learning from
seasoned groomers you know and online, and checking out videos and manufacturer
websites. Nowell also recommended a book by Anna Hawks called “Scissors Up: The
Correct Scissor System.”